Arrested in Spain – can I go back?

Arrested in Spain - can I go back

When a person is arrested for the commission of a minor crime, they do not need a lawyer. In these cases, being assisted by a lawyer is not mandatory, it is optional, although it is always recommended mostly when a foreigner is involved. Therefore, you do not have the right to a public defender (unless you expressly request it and the court considers it necessary for your defense).

The penalty will never be imprisonment, but rather a fine or a community sentence or house arrest.

In this case, the person can leave the country, as the law does not allow a person who is outside of Spain to be persecuted for the commission of a minor crime. A European arrest warrant cannot be issued.

However, as soon as that person tries to enter Spain again, he will have a search and capture order in the national territory, in Spain, and therefore he will be arrested, he will spend the night arrested in the police station closest to the border police station or border guard where the person entered Spain and he will be taken to the nearest court the next day , after spending the night in prison. Once at the court that person will be summoned to hold the trial in the appropriate court.

To prevent this from happening, before leaving the country, you must appoint a solicitor to handle your defence and receive notifications on your behalf. Your lawyer will inform you of the date of the trial, which may take months or even more than a year, but in any case, you will be informed with enough time in advance to allow you to travel to Spain and attend the trial.

In certain cases, you may not be obliged to appear at  the trial, and you could let your lawyer go to trial on your behalf and later send you the Court decision,  for example, the payment of a fine, which you can pay from your country, in any Santander bank branch.

After the trial, you must await the sentence to be handed down or appoint a lawyer to be notified of the sentence. Otherwise, you will not be able to receive the notification of the sentence and you will not be able to comply with it and when you try to return to Spain you could be arrested, as mentioned above and taken the next day to the nearest court, after spending the night in prison, where they will give you the summons to hold the trial in the appropriate court.

 

Arrested and released to wait for trial

If a foreigner is arrested in Spain for a crime, other than a minor crime, he will always need a lawyer, if he does not appoint a lawyer, one will be appointed by the court. Several outcomes are possible:

The person is set free from the police station, without going to the court, and awaiting trial.

In this case, the Court has not been able to issue any resolution prohibiting him from leaving the country. So, you can go to your country, but before leaving the country you must appoint a lawyer and a procurador who will be in charge of your defence and representation and who will receive the notifications on your behalf. Your lawyer will inform you of the date of the trial, which may take months or even more than a year, but in any case, you will be informed with enough time in advance to allow you to travel to Spain and attend the trial (read here what happens if you miss the trial).

In certain cases, you may not need to go to trial, as you could let your lawyer go to trial on your behalf and send you later the resolution with the sentence, whenever it is possible that the sentence is the payment of a fine, which you can pay from your country, at any Santander bank branch.

If you are in this situation and you leave the country without appointing a lawyer, the following could happen:

  • That the requirements for a European arrest warrant, or an international arrest warrant, are fulfilled. Then you will be arrested in the country where your are and taken to prison to Spain awaiting trial.
  • If the requirements for a European arrest warrant, or an international arrest warrant, are NOT fulfilled. When you try to enter Spain again, you will have a search and capture order in the national territory, in Spain, and therefore you will be arrested, you will spend the night arrested in the police station closest to the border police station or border guard where you have entered Spain and will be taken to court the next day in the nearest court, where either you will be summoned to hold the trial in the appropriate court and you will be released or remain in prison until holding the trial.

 

The person is taken from the police station directly to Court, and later the judge sets the person free, awaiting trial. In this case there are two possible outcomes:

  • The Court can issue a resolution that forbids you from leaving the country, however this does not usually happen and is something exceptional.
  • The court does not issue a resolution that forbids you from leaving the country. This is the most normal thing to happen. Once released, you can go to your country, but before leaving the country you must appoint a lawyer and a prosecutor who is in charge of your defense and receives the notifications on your behalf, as we have explained previously in point 1 of this heading and for the same reasons.

 

Arrested and judged while waiting for the resolution

You can leave the country, provided that during the procedure a resolution has not been issued that removes your passport and prevents you from traveling abroad. In any case, before traveling, you must appoint a lawyer and a procurador to receive notifications on your behalf, that is, to receive the Court’s decision and inform you of its content so that you can comply with it or appeal to a higher court.

Otherwise, you will have an arrest warrant issued in Spain to give you the letter with the sentence and to request compliance. In which case, you will be arrested when you return to Spain to require compliance. If the crime meets certain requirements, an international arrest warrant may be issued.

If the sentence for the crime was the payment of a fine and it is not carried out, that is, the fine is not paid, that non-payment of a fine is converted to a prison sentence.

 

Arrested, judged and sentence handed down

In this case, you can leave the country, although you must first comply with the penalty imposed in the sentence. Otherwise you will have an arrest warrant for failure to comply with the sentence and on your return to Spain you could be arrested to demand compliance with the sentence. If the crime meets certain requirements and the penalty is imprisonment, an international arrest warrant may be issued.

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27 Lawyers Offering Services in Spain

Testimonials for Criminal Law
  • Elin Dahms Konig
    Elin Dahms Konig, Seville

    I recommend Rafa who helped me through a tough situation where I was wrongly accused in a case of fraud. His advice, support and professionalism were outstanding!


    Feb 28, 2020
  • Stefan Olivier
    Stefan Olivier, Ibiza

    Rosa was incredibly helpful and also patient with me. I would recommend her to anyone as she is incredibly professional and knows how to advise a distressed client brilliantly.


    Sep 07, 2019
  • Jason McNabb
    Jason McNabb, Fuengirola

    Very professional and a first class service at very short notice.


    Everything was under control in a short space of time. Alvaro was a man of his word. Anything he said he would do he done it. Me and my family appreciate everything you done for my brother thank you so much.


    Jul 16, 2019
  • Clare Parlour
    Clare Parlour, Mallorca

    Initially I had a lot of communication but as time went on it was difficult to get prompt responses and I felt frustrated by the Spanish system and lack of understanding.


    It has now been transferred to the UK but this was done through the court and not the solicitor. it took 3 months for our file to turn up in the UK and I think that was more by luck.


    More regular communication especially as we didn't know the Spanish legal system.


    Jul 09, 2019
  • Breda McMahon
    Breda McMahon, Gran Canaria

    Esther provided a very professional and efficient service.


    I would certainly recommend her!


    Jun 25, 2019
  • Andy and Diane Heston
    Andy and Diane Heston, Fuengirola

    We have recently had to employ the services of a lawyer, to deal with a very serious and distressing problem. We found Alvero and made a phone call to him ,within seconds of speaking to him he proved to be the lawyer to represent us.


    His knowledge of our particular problem was in depth and precise he listened carefully and gave us really sound and honest advice. His professionalism in handling our case has been impressive to say the least but he has also remained sympathetic and constantly kept us up to date with everything he has been doing at every stage.


    This has helped to minimize the stress at this extremely stressful time I would have no hesitation in recommending Alvero. His professionalism and whole attitude towards his clients is second to none


    May 24, 2019
  • John Grant
    John Grant, Arrecife, Lanzarote

    Very sympathetic. Excellent advice.


    May 16, 2019
  • Rhys Keely
    Rhys Keely, Mallorca

    Rosa was very understanding and helpful in all matters. She explained everything and went above and beyond to assist.


    So lucky to have found her at a difficult time.


    Jan 29, 2019
  • Samuel S Perrie
    Samuel S Perrie, Scotland

    Great service, always very attentive communication, was excellent via email and Skype, always let me know what was happening stage by stage.


    Nov 20, 2018
  • David Grundy
    David Grundy, UK

    Jose was very polite and we received an excellent service from him.


    Nothing was to much trouble and his communication was 2nd to none. Highly recommended!


    Aug 24, 2018
  • Martina
    Martina, Plymouth

    Erardo was fantastic and helped immensely during a very difficult situation.


    He consulted with my lawyer in the UK and explained to her what needed done. Without him the situation would not have been resolved. He was very understanding and I would have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending him. Outstanding.


    Mar 05, 2018
  • John Wedlake
    John Wedlake, Murro de Alcoi, Spain

    Very satisfied with Jose-Antonio's service, in particular I appreciated the completely honest appraisal of the situation. Will definitely use this service again.


    Jul 30, 2017
  • Andriy Shevchuk
    Andriy Shevchuk, Ukraine, Lviv

    Jose Antonio is a very professional lawyer. He have very good experience and clear vision of case. Also digging deeply in all details.


    Very professional Lawyer.


    Apr 05, 2017
  • Harold Thomas
    Harold Thomas, Manchester UK

    The help I received from Juan on behalf of my sister in law Sandra, was invaluable.


    He is an excellent professional who I can highly recommend, if I was ever in need of legal assistance in Spain he would definitely be the first person I would contact.


    Many thanks Juan for your help.


    Jan 13, 2017
  • Kenneth Madden
    Kenneth Madden, Gran Canaria

    Very professional, very helpful and always responded promptly to any queries I had.


    Oct 23, 2016
  • KSC
    KSC, Ireland

    She was very helpful, always happy to assist.


    I was very satisfied with the service.


    Oct 18, 2016
  • Martin Rawlings
    Martin Rawlings, Baza

    I am very pleased with the time and trouble taken by Álvaro in advising me and acting on my behalf.


    His English was more or less fluent and I would definitely use his services again.


    Apr 07, 2016
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